Psych Central

Inspiration Articles

Setbacks and Mistakes and Innovation

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

bridge-to-nowhereWhat seems to be a setback, error or limitation, may often be valuable for encouraging more creative thinking and innovation.

Valerie Young writes about two “mistakes” that resulted in very successful products:

“Did you know, for example, that Post-It-Notes were the result of what 3M Company researchers at first thought to be a bad batch of glue?


A Calling to Be Creative

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Lupita Nyong’o and fatherWhat leads, urges, even compels so many of us to be creatively expressive?

Given that everyone is creative to some degree, why do many people choose careers in the arts, or work that actively engages their creativity?

Most of us will never be actors or other filmmakers – especially ones that are seen and acknowledged publicly – but many of those creators talk about what calls them to engage in creative work, despite the challenges.

One example: Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress on March 2, 2014 for her role in “12 Years a Slave.”

In her moving acceptance speech, she noted one source of inspiration for her portrayal of a slave: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance.”

She also thanked director Steve McQueen: “You charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life.”


Painter Robert Genn on Art and Happiness

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Robert GennIn an issue of his newsletter, artist Robert Genn notes that in his book “Against Happiness” writer Eric Wilson “disparages our current love affair with putting on a happy face.”

Wilson thinks that with our “feel good” culture and the “widespread use of happy drugs, everybody’s trying to be cheerful and there are no decent dollops of melancholy and sadness. When this happens, art becomes bland, unchallenging and redundant.”

Genn notes, “Dr. Thomas Svolos of the department of Psychiatry at Creighton University School of Medicine thinks Wilson is right. ‘When you’re melancholy, you tend to step back and examine your life,’ he says. ‘That kind of questioning is essential for creativity.’


Journaling to Bring Creative Ideas to Life

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Journaling to create cool ideas videoMaybe you kept a diary – or still do. Or use a notebook as a helpful tool for personal growth, to track thinking and inspiration.

Artists, as well as entrepreneurs and other creative people, often use storyboards, journals, mindmapping and other idea tools for developing creative projects.


What’s Keeping You From Creative Work?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Saige Paints the Sky movieAs a child or teenager, we were perhaps more freely creative, but as supposed “grown-ups” we face fears and uncertainties about our talents, or the marketplace value of a particular form of expression, or what our investing in a project means – both for us, and others.

Some forms of creative work may have structures and guidelines to follow, at least during some stages, but at some point the venture is, well, creative. You need to make things up.

There can be many inner threats and challenges to all these aspects of creating.

Author Milli Thornton describes one example: a CPA who kept shutting off his dream to write.


Visualization Can Enhance Creative Achievement

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

“If I hadn’t visualized playing athletes, I wouldn’t have gotten ‘Major League.’ If I hadn’t visualized playing a president, David Palmer never would have happened.”

Creating visualizations of what you want to accomplish can be a powerful strategy for achievement, according to many writers, coaches and research studies.

Perhaps the most research has been about athletes and sport psychology, but artists can use the techniques and approaches as well.

Dennis HaysbertActor Dennis Haysbert has portrayed a variety of dynamic characters in film (such as “Jarhead”) and television (including “24″ and “The Unit”), and says, “I visualize the roles that I want.

“You’ve got to have a sense of what you want to do; otherwise, the universe is just going to throw something at you.”

[TV Guide, July 3-9 2006.]

In her article Awakening the Senses, creativity coach Linda Dessau writes about the book “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael Gelb, particularly the “Sensazione” chapter, which Dessau notes “is dedicated to re-awakening and sharpening each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.”

She adds, “Gelb offers lots of exercises in this chapter to help you awaken your senses. My favourite is ‘Subtle Speculation: The Art of Visualization’.”


Maybe You Should Just Ignore Everyone

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Hugh MacLeod - Great IdeasCreating may be at times a collaboration, and it can be helpful to get input from others about your work, but a number of artists also say they create primarily to please themselves, to realize their own unique creative inspirations.

Also, criticism from others can be destructive and self-limiting, eroding our creative assurance and vitality, especially if it is based on excessive perfectionism or values that you, the creator, may not hold.

Creativity coach and psychologist Eric Maisel has even declared, “Criticism is a real crippler.”

From my post: Toxic Criticism and Developing Creativity.

Hugh MacLeod, a brand consultant, copywriter and cartoonist, has made available (for free) a stimulating PDF: “How To Be Creative” – here are some excerpts from the beginning:


Viggo Mortensen on The Social Power of Art and Staying Childlike To Be Creative

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

ViggoMortensen-AMFMFest“The function of artists is to keep people childlike in a positive way. To keep open to the world.”

Viggo Mortensen continues,

“Apart from traveling to different countries, to different communities, to different parts of your city, I think that art is one of the greatest anti-war and anti-poverty weapons.”

I found this quote on the Tumblr site Viggo Mortensen’s Art – there is also a Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/ViggoMortensensArt

His quote comes from a video interview: “Viggo Mortensen Meets Alex Jones.”

Here is a clip – follow the link above to see the full interview on Youtube.


Making Meaning To Be More Creative

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Dianne Albin portrait“For an artist, it is a driven pursuit, whether we acknowledge this or not, that endless search for meaning.” Dianne Albin

Like passion, meaning is another central element in how we choose which of our talents to develop and express. Finding and making meaning is especially crucial for creative people.

Painter Dianne Albin continues, “Each work we attempt poses the same questions. Perhaps this time I will see more clearly, understand something more.

“That is why I think that the attempt always feels so important, for the answers we encounter are only partial and not always clear.

“Yet at its very best, one work of art, whether produced by oneself or another, offers a sense of possibility that flames the mind and the spirit, and in that moment we know this is a life worth pursuing, a struggle that offers the possibility of answers as well as meaning.”


Lynda Barry: No Artistic Talent Required To Be More Creative

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

A painter, cartoonist, and writer, among other disciplines, Lynda Barry served as an artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin last year, and is now an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity.

“I make my husband call me [Professor Barry],” she joked in an NPR interview.

“I tried to get my dogs to call me Professor Barry, but they have trouble with P’s.”

She commented on thinking about how people “have given up on the arts totally. But if they’re with a baby or with a toddler, most of them will sing, dance, make sculptures that you knock down, draw, tell stories, all these things that we call the arts. They’ll do that with a kid.

“And which is sort of interesting. And then I like to ask people why do you think that is, and one of the things they often say is because babies aren’t judgmental.

“Well yeah they are. You can wear the wrong shirt, and they’ll lose their minds.”


 

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